Sunday, May 30, 2010
An Open Letter to Prof Edward Acton, Vice Chancellor, University of East Anglia, UK from S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Dear Prof. Acton
After careful study, I have reached the conclusion that the CRU temperature trends published by Prof. Phil Jones of UEA (and used by the IPCC) are spurious and should be corrected. Instead of the major warming that’s been claimed between 1979 and 1996 (the crucial period), the actual warming seems to be minor or even close to zero.
This matter is of extreme importance since international policies concerning climate change are based on the Jones analysis –and equivalent analyses in the US.
I base my conclusion on the following evidence:
**Weather satellites are the most reliable source of global temperature observations, with all data analysis and corrections fully transparent. They show essentially a zero rise in atmospheric temperatures during most of the crucial period (1979-1996). And basic atmospheric physics tells us that the temperature trends at the earth’s surface must be less, roughly only half of the atmospheric trends.
**Furthermore, all proxy data I have seen show no significant temperature rise during this same period. Recall that Michael Mann’s multi-proxy analysis suddenly stops in 1979.
As a scientist, I am mainly concerned with the truth of the data and the consequences for future climate change. Of course, as a member of the public, I cannot ignore the policy consequences – nor should any citizen/voter.
It seems to me that it is your responsibility to investigate whether and to what extent Dr. Jones’ judgment in the selection and in the correction of the raw data was influenced by any desire to see a particular outcome – namely, a strong warming.
In other words, the selection process (i.e., which data to use and which to reject) involved setting explicit or implicit criteria, based on “judgment.” Similarly, deciding on the type and degree of correction (for example, for urban heat island effects or other kinds of contamination) involved setting certain criteria based on the judgment of the analyst.
[Analysts can make different choices in the complex process of choosing input data, adjusting raw station data for known inhomogeneities (such as urbanization effects, changes in instrumentation, site location, and observation time), and gridding procedures.]
On this matter, I confess to certain sympathies for Dr Jones, who has devoted his lifetime career to this important task. Yet the search for scientific truth must be paramount.
I hope you will enlist credible experts to help you and I wish you much success as you undertake this daunting task.
S. Fred Singer (Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia; Former Director of the US Weather Satellite Service)
SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #17-2010 (May 29, 2010)
Global Warming Advocacy Science: A Cross Examination
A legal analysis by Jason Scott Johnston, University of Pennsylvania - Law School
Legal scholarship has come to accept as true the various pronouncements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientists who have been active in the movement for greenhouse gas (ghg) emission reductions to combat global warming. The only criticism that legal scholars have had of the story told by this group of activist scientists - what may be called the climate establishment - is that it is too conservative in not paying enough attention to possible catastrophic harm from potentially very high temperature increases.
This paper departs from such faith in the climate establishment by comparing the picture of climate science presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other global warming scientist advocates with the peer-edited scientific literature on climate change. A review of the peer-edited literature reveals a systematic tendency of the climate establishment to engage in a variety of stylized rhetorical techniques that seem to oversell what is actually known about climate change while concealing fundamental uncertainties and open questions regarding many of the key processes involved in climate change.
Fundamental open questions include not only the size but the direction of feedback effects that are responsible for the bulk of the temperature increase predicted to result from atmospheric greenhouse gas increases: while climate models all presume that such feedback effects are on balance strongly positive, more and more peer-edited scientific papers seem to suggest that feedback effects may be small or even negative.
The cross-examination conducted in this paper reveals many additional areas where the peer-edited literature seems to conflict with the picture painted by establishment climate science, ranging from the magnitude of 20th century surface temperature increases and their relation to past temperatures; the possibility that inherent variability in the earth’s non-linear climate system, and not increases in CO2, may explain observed late 20th century warming; the ability of climate models to actually explain past temperatures; and, finally, substantial doubt about the methodological validity of models used to make highly publicized predictions of global warming impacts such as species loss.
Insofar as establishment climate science has glossed over and minimized such fundamental questions and uncertainties in climate science, it has created widespread misimpressions that have serious consequences for optimal policy design. Such misimpressions uniformly tend to support the case for rapid and costly decarbonization of the American economy, yet they characterize the work of even the most rigorous legal scholars.
A more balanced and nuanced view of the existing state of climate science supports much more gradual and easily reversible policies regarding greenhouse gas emission reduction, and also urges a redirection in public funding of climate science away from the continued subsidization of refinements of computer models and toward increased spending on the development of standardized observational datasets against which existing climate models can be tested.
The Week That Was (May 29, 2010)
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
EPA has carefully prepared a trap, but will it trap itself? It has played hard ball in its Endangerment Finding that carbon dioxide emissions “endanger human health and welfare.” But faced with the hard reality that Copenhagen was a failure, public enthusiasm for carbon dioxide controls is falling, and that the Kerry-Lieberman cap and tax bill may not pass, EPA came out with a “tailoring rule” to slowly implement carbon dioxide regulation. First, only those emitting 50,000 tons per year will be regulated. Then the regulations will gradually apply to others. But EPA has no legal authority to make this rule because the law states emissions as low as 250 tons (every large building) must be regulated. Thus, EPA is inventing law.
Scores of environmental lawyers stand ready to collect massive legal fees, courtesy of the taxpayer by suing EPA for not fully enforcing the law. No doubt, EPA will do what it usually does, show some resistance and then roll in favor of the environmental lawyers. Herein is the danger to EPA. If cap and tax is not passed, and EPA enforces stringent regulations, the politicians who support EPA may soon be out of their jobs.
Senator Murkowski has proposed a simple, eight line bill that will remove from EPA the responsibility of regulating carbon dioxide. Under the Murkowski bill the responsibility of regulating carbon dioxide emissions will fall on the peoples’ representatives in Congress – where it should be.
Those representing scientific organizations defending Michael Mann continue to misstate the meaning of “hide the decline.” The issue is how well do tree ring measurement techniques approximate temperature measurements by instruments? Is there a solid correspondence between the results of tree ring techniques and the results of instrument measurements? If the correspondence is solid, than tree ring techniques can be used (with caution) to estimate temperatures when no instrument measurements are available. If the correspondence is poor, then the technique is not valid.
The “Nature trick” to “hide the decline” was not to hide temperature measurements by instruments which showed a rise in temperatures. The trick was to hide the divergence between tree ring techniques and instrument measurements after 1979 by removing “unsuitable” tree ring data. The tree rings indicated a no warming while the instruments showed a warming. Had the data been fully presented, then the validity of tree rings as a proxy for instrument measurements would have been questioned. The issue is not, as expressed by the Washington Post and others, allowing the public to better understand the research. The issue is misleading the public.
Students of The Great War (WW I) have long wondered what mania compelled leaders of the great nations of Europe, the most prosperous on earth, to such a disastrous, destructive war. What mania compelled generals who repeatedly witnessed that well prepared defenses annihilated troops in a frontal assault, to order their demoralized, depleted armies to another frontal assault -- One. Last. Time.
Perhaps we are witnessing that mania in the leadership of the European Union.
Many nations of Europe are still suffering from a prolonged recession. Many are experiencing a financial crisis brought on by fiscal irresponsibility, in part from pursuit of prosperity from green jobs which disappear when subsidies stop.
The leaders of the European Union have noticed that due to the recession, resulting in reduced carbon dioxide emissions, some nations are too close to achieving their goals of a 20% reduction by 2020. Apparently this is too easy, so the goal must be raised to 30% by 2020 to lead others on to victory. Depression anyone? Into the breach, men! One. Last. Time.
Another report from Heartland-4
by Bob Carter
The Chicago Heartland-4 International Conference on Climate Change
The 4th Heartland International Conference on Climate Change was held between May 16-18 last week in the Heartland Institute’s home city of Chicago. Previous meetings have been held in New York and Washington, and all have been highly successful. But as conference participant and Euro-MP Roger Helmer pointed out, the Heartland-4 conference marks a turning point, because of the emergence at the meeting of a rapidly maturing counter-consensus on the still topical (if increasingly tiresome to voters) issue of alarmist global warming....
Sure, carbon dioxide is a minor greenhouse gas, and, sure again, a gentle warming occurred over the last part of the 20th century. But hey, climate change happens naturally, both warmings and coolings; second, there is no substantive evidence that the late 20th century warming had a human causation; third, there has been no substantial further warming since 1998 despite a 5% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide; and, fourth, there is increasingly strong evidence that negative (cooling) feedbacks are a dominant response of the climate system to increased greenhouse gas, as elaborated in papers at Heartland-4 by Dick Lindzen, Roy Spencer and Willis Eschenbach amongst others.
The four Heartland conferences have had a number of features in common, of which perhaps the most surprising has been the general failure of the mainstream press to attend and report on the matters discussed, and this despite the pedigree academic credentials of many of the persons presenting papers. But don’t take my word for the capabilities of the scientists and social scientists concerned: rather, check for yourself by watching some of the plenary and other addresses that have been filmed and made readily available by Pajamas TV.
One interesting exception to the press boycott was the BBC, who sent along their senior environmental reporter, Roger Harrabin. In contrast, nary a glimpse was sighted of any reporters from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and I am informed that the conference has passed almost entirely unnoticed in the Australian press. Given the Labor government’s repeated attempts to introduce carbon dioxide taxation in pursuit of the goal of “stopping global warming” (a policy now deferred until 2013), it is surprising indeed that the Australian media exhibited no interest in a major international conference at which copious evidence was provided that global warming is no longer a threat (if ever it was), and that global cooling may well be underway. Robyn Williams, Tony Jones and the Kerry O’Brien team, where were you?
One explanation for this determined lack of media interest may be the relentless politicisation to which the science of climate change has been subjected. Despite a prevailing conservative atmosphere, it is a matter of fact that attendees at Heartland-4 included persons from the far left to the far right of the political spectrum, with many doubtless representative of the swinging middle also. One might comment that, similarly, attendees at the many regular IPCC-related conferences throughout the world exude an air of left-wing rat-baggery, despite which the world media queue up to give them clamorous coverage. Thus in many people’s minds the IPCC angels and their media supporters are seen as left wing zealots floating on fluffy clouds, whereas the rationalist, independent scientists who are critical of IPCC policy advice appear as right wing deniers who represent the forces of darkness. That such shallow and inaccurate demonisations are prevalent in the public debate is perhaps the major reason why sensible calls for an alternative, prudent, adaptive approach to climate change (part of what Roger Helmer has called the “counter consensus”) – have yet to be heeded.
In contrast to IPCC events, then, and probably because the Heartland Institute makes no secret of being a libertarian organization, the Chicago conference appears to have been dismissed in advance by many media outlets as representing the views of a few, extreme, right-wing “climate deniers”. This is so to the degree that some scientists (and especially those many supporters of the IPCC view who were invited to participate) are reported to have declined to attend the conference because to do so would have resulted in their reputations being tainted by association. Those many independent scientists who did participate in the presentations and vigorous discussions at Heartland-4 were doubtless amused by this silly notion. Indeed, it can be laid to rest by noting the comments of one of the rare scientists present who acknowledged his sympathy to the views of the IPCC, namely Scott Denning from Colorado State University; Dr Denning commented at the closing plenary session that:
I want to thank you very much for inviting me to this conference. I have to say that I’ve learned a lot here. It was very gracious of [Heartland Institute Senior Fellow] James [Taylor] and of the organizers to bring me here. And I actually feel that it’s really too bad that more of my colleagues from the [IPCC] scientific community didn’t attend and haven’t in the past, and I hope that we can remedy that in the future.
One of the most concerning things about the global warming debate, which came up time and again in informal discussions at the Heartland-4 conference, is the degree to which young people today are being given a misleading and unbalanced education in environmental matters in general, and on climate change in particular. The following comment, which was posted as part of a recent online discussion of climate change books at Amazon UK, provides an all too typical example:
Recently, I attended a meeting at York University on this subject, and was interested to see that several students there, when confronted by the overwhelming scientific case for CO2 not being responsible for global warming, simply said "I cannot accept that." When asked why not, they replied along the lines that the newspapers and politicians all agree, so what have scientists to do with it. I was astounded!
It is therefore pleasant to be able to close this article by reporting on the active and intelligent involvement of two quite different groups of young people in the Heartland-4 conference. The first group comprised some lucky senior secondary school pupils from Wisconsin (The Potter’s School) who had been brought along by their energetic teacher Adele Weeks to be exposed to the wide range of views on climate change that were on show. At the same time, and while at the conference, Adele taught an external chemistry class over the internet, thereby setting two stellar examples of good teaching that other teachers should be encouraged to emulate.
The second group of young persons were to be found on the pavement of busy Michigan Avenue, outside the conference hotel’s front door. There, attached to various banners and signs, they were chanting vociferous slogans against the conference demons that their imaginations told them were inside the hotel - all the while being goaded or organized by two busy, older cameramen from major environmental organisations. Not, at first sight, promising material for rational discourse. Happily, however, and as is generally the case for most young people, when approached politely and firmly, and engaged in discussion, they became almost eager participants in their own de-propagandization.
One day soon, the majority of the world’s young people are going to wake up too to the way that they have been deceived about climate change, and come to understand that the high extra taxes and charges that they are going to contribute towards “stopping global warming” will result in precisely no climatic effect and no environmental benefit. Those who hosted and attended the Heartland-4 climate conference should be proud of the part that they are playing in alerting all citizens, the young included, to the need for prudence, caution and balance in the climate debate – all of which are needed in advance of any further large public expenditure on this environmental cause célèbre.
Government Physicist's Book Condemns Global Warming Hype
John O'Sullivan reviews a book briefly referred to on this blog yesterday
New book by long-standing physicist, John M. Quinn disproves carbon dioxide drives Earth's climate; solar forces shown to be the key to climate change
In ‘Global Warming: Geophysical Counterpoints to the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory’ John M. Quinn a 40-year career physicist serving on a variety of national and international committees, disputes that radiative forcing associated with the greenhouse gas effect has any significant role in man-made global warming.
Quinn’s book is a masterly study that traces our planet’s recent heating episodes to determine a climate forcing signal that might be called mini-Milankovitch events. In other words, solar energy is proven to be the key driver of climate change.
Solar Forces and Earth’s Core Motion the Key
Tying together evidence from a wide range of solar-terrestrial phenomena, including the sun’s magnetic storms, the fluctuating solar wind as well as Earth’s core motions, Quinn’s conclusions are most compelling.
Of considerable interest to some analysts will be Quinn’s view of the core motion effect which is supported by the discovery in 2008 of a second inner core to the Earth which climate theorist, Joseph E. Olson has affirmed as another fascinating new line of enquiry in the field of climatology.
Quinn defines clear one-to-one correspondence among these parameters and the Global Temperature Anomaly on three separate time scales.
It appears highly likely that changes in the Sun’s and our planet’s magnetic fields, changes in the Earth’s orientation and rotation rate, as well as the gravitational effects associated with the relative barri-center motions of the Earth, Sun, Moon, and other planets, all play key roles.
Conventional Global Warming Wisdom Disputed
The Colorado physicist’s conclusions are added to a growing weight of dissenting scientific opinion debunking the accepted views of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a small clique of discredited government climate scientists who have sought to pin the blame of modest warming in the late 20th century on made-made emissions of carbon dioxide.
The author, from Lakewood, Colorado, holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and has worked for 32 years with the Federal Government.
Quinn’s celestial analysis broadly fits with that of Dr. Tom Segalstad whose work on residence time also has a distinct sun-oriented perspective on the fluctuations in climate.
Indeed, there is much here to support climate scientists once portrayed as mavericks on this matter, such as eminent MIT professor, Richard Lindzen, an IPCC author and Sweden’s Henrik Svensmark who also hold that the Sun is the prime forcer in climate change.
However, even a study of IPCC's own conventionally accepted numbers by Dr. Jeffrey Glassman has now become compelling evidence that the Sun and not greenhouse gases, are the root cause of recent global warming.
Global Interest Aroused in Climate Expert
Aside from this fascinating book, John Quinn has also published several technical reports and articles in scientific journals. In fact, he is held in such high regard that he has given numerous lectures and presentations to scientific and other groups around the world.
Shedding new light on a fascinating subject, the Colorado climate analyst’s new publication is aimed at scientists and non-scientists alike. With a wealth of informative graphics to assist the reader Quinn’s analysis will be readily understood by a broad spectrum of interested groups from politicians, teachers and students right through to the lay public as well.
There is little doubt that Mr. Quinn has added an invaluable contribution to the lively debate as climate science earnestly searches for the true causes of global warming.
SOURCE (See original for references)
Eskimos say that polar bears not at risk
The Nunavut government does not think the polar bear should be classified as a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act, says territorial Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk. Shewchuk said there is no clear evidence to support assigning that status to the polar bear despite recommendations to the contrary by Environment Canada and a federal scientific panel.
"We live in polar bear country," Shewchuk told reporters in Iqaluit on Friday afternoon. "We understand the polar bears, and we do actually think our polar bear population is very very healthy, with the exception of a couple of populations that we are taking action on."
The polar bear was most recently designated a species of special concern in 2002. "Of special concern" is the least serious "at risk" designation — one level below "threatened" and two levels below "endangered." Currently, the special-concern designation has been suspended while the government reviews the polar bear's status and decides whether to renew the classification or change it.
An arm's length scientific panel, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), reviewed the polar bear's status in 2008 and recommended that it remain in the special-concern category.
Change of position
The recommendation has initiated a long process of hearings and consultations, including a round of hearings in Nunavut in April. Environment Canada is expected to decide in a couple of months whether to renew the special concern status.
Shewchuk said while the Nunavut government originally agreed with the special-concern listing, it changed its position after consulting with Inuit hunters and others on a recent community tour. "Through direct consultation, they are unanimous in their belief that polar bears have not declined," Shewchuk said.
Scientists on the committee have argued that although Canada's polar bear population has improved over the last 50 years, the future of the species could be threatened by climate change and receding sea ice.
"Certainly, we recognize that the Arctic may experience substantial impacts from climate change," Shewchuk said. "But listing polar bears now, based on predicted but unknown future impacts, is not reasonable. "Based on hunter observations, polar bears are presently still healthy and abundant across Nunavut — and for that reason, not a species of special concern."
At-risk designation requires management plan
Being listed as a species of special concern means polar bears must be protected by a management plan that would address the habitat and survival of the species.
But Shewchuk said the Nunavut government already has an "excellent track record" in terms of collaborative wildlife management, using a combination of the best scientific data and Inuit traditional knowledge.
He said appropriate steps are already being taken to conserve two polar bear subpopulations — in western Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay — that have been of most concern to federal authorities.
Those subpopulations have been of concern to scientists who said their numbers are declining. Inuit in those areas have disputed the scientific claims, saying they have seen more bears.
Shewchuk said his new decision has already been sent to federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice. "I'm aware that I will be under tremendous pressure externally for no longer supporting the special-concern proposal," he said. "However, I'm being responsive and listening to Nunavummiut, especially hunters and elders, who have lived all their lives in the North, who have extensive and professional knowledge of the environment and our wildlife in Nunavut," he said.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here
Posted by JR at 1:57 PM